Archive for the ‘Manga Reviews’ Category

Inuyashiki, Vols. 1 – 10

June 3, 2020 Leave a comment

Cover to Inuyashiki, Vol. 1Inuyashiki, Vols. 1 – 10
by Hiroya Oku, translation by Stephen Paul
Rating: 16 +

Inuyashiki is an ailing, middle aged, office worker who’s ignored and looked down upon by colleagues and family alike. Diagnosed with fatal cancer and unable to muster up the emotional strength to tell his family, he instead takes a fateful nighttime walk which changes his life and the course of human history in an instant. The victim of an interstellar hit and run, Inuyashiki the man dies in the park and is reborn in the form of an advanced alien combat robot. Fed up with injustices he sees around him, Inuyashiki sets about helping and defending the people of Japan. However, he soon realizes he was not alone in the park that night, and finds himself on a collision course with the second victim of the interstellar hit and run, one who has a very different perspective on life than he does. From Hiroya Oku, creator of Gantz, comes the ten volume, sci-fi, superhero series, Inuyashiki!
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The New Gate, Vol. 1

April 13, 2020 2 comments

Cover to The New Gate, Vol. 1The New Gate, Vol. 1
Manga by Yoshiyuki Miwa, original story by Shinogi Kazanami, original book design by ansyyqdesign, original character design by Makai no Jumin.
Rating: Not Rated

For decades now, anime and manga have churned out story after story about people becoming trapped within a virtual reality world, and their adventures as they seek an escape from their digital prison. Numerous series have been built upon this premise, including the classic .hack franchise, but also more contemporary works such as Real Account. Fans of the genre can now add The New Gate—Yoshiyuki Miwa’s adaption of Shinogi Kazanami’s novel of the same name—to this ever growing list. What sets The New Gate apart from the others, is how it repurposes the endgame of many of the series into a starting point and the potential for it to delve into the aftermath of such events.
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Ryuko, Vols. 1 + 2

March 4, 2020 Leave a comment

Cover to Ryuko, Vol. 1 by Eldo YoshimizuRyuko, Vols. 1 + 2
by Eldo Yoshimizu, translated by Motoko Tamamuro and Jonathan Clements.

Titan Comics
Rating: 15 +

Ryuko, Vols. 1+2 tells a complicated story spanning decades and continents. From small villages in Afghanistan during the conflict with the Soviets, to the modern day streets of Tokyo, the sprawling story is one of international espionage, crime rings, and attempts by those trapped in that lifestyle to escape it’s never ending cycle of violence. Created by Eldo Yoshimizu, a contemporary fine artist, Ryuko represents his first foray into manga/comics and merges his background in fashion and design with an apparent fondness for so-called Pinky Violence films. It’s a combination which results in an ambitious, but deeply uneven, read.
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To Your Eternity, Vols. 3 + 4

August 1, 2019 Leave a comment

Cover to "To Your Eternity, Vol. 4"To Your Eternity, Vols. 3 + 4
by Yoshitoki Oima, translated by Steven LeCroy.
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

As Fushi—a bizarre shape shifting being of unknown origin—makes their way through a fantasy laden world, absorbing information and likeness from those it encounters, it slowly begins to grow and develop a sense of self-awareness and individual identity. Yet, what will this sense of self bring to Fushi? How will the time it spends with the abandoned, mutilated, masked, servant boy known as Gugu shape its world view? Yoshitoki Oima’s moving exploration of humanity and existence continues with To Your Eternity, Vol. 3 + 4!
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Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vols. 1 + 2

July 9, 2019 Leave a comment

Cover to Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vol. 1Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vols. 1 + 2
by Akiko Higashimura, translated by Steven LeCroy.
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

From Akiko Higashimura, creator of the absolutely amazing Princess Jellyfish, comes a series about the pressures faced by Japanese women in their 30s as they attempt the navigate the tangled web of their own personal desires and those society places upon them. Rinko, Koyuki, and Kaori all seek happiness, but are living in a world where youth is at a premium, and as they move deeper into their 30s, they find themselves wondering if the romantic life has passed them by as they chose to focus on their careers. Is it truly to late to find love and passion? Are they destined to live with the lingering questions of “what if…?” as the titular tarareba suggests? What if they had lowered their standards? What if they said yes? What if they accepted domesticity over careers? Or, can they prove the world wrong and find both the internal happiness to silence their doubts, and the external happiness they seem to seek? These are just a few of the questions explored in Tokyo Tarareba Girls, Vols. 1 + 2, with the wit and emotional honesty that made Princess Jellyfish so beloved.
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Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vols. 2 + 3

June 16, 2019 Leave a comment

The cover to "Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vol. 2"Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vols. 2 + 3
by Yukito Kishiro, translated by Stephen Paul.
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

Picking up immediately were the first volume left off, Battle Angel Alita: Deluxe Edition, Vols. 2 + 3 continue to follow Alita on her attempts to create a better life for her ad-hoc family. Unfortunately, after tragedy strikes, familial bonds are tested as Alita seeks to unlock the mysteries of her past, and determine the truth behind her existence by throwing herself onto the path of violence. A path that leads her beyond the Scrapyard, and to the brutal sport known as Motorball. Yukito Kishiro’s cyberpunk classic continues, mixing high speed violence with questions of identity, and what it means to be human.
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Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection

May 12, 2019 Leave a comment

The cover to "Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection."Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection
by Junji Ito, Translation by Jocelyne Allen, “Frankenstein” originally written by Mary Shelley, “Frankenstein” English Adaption by Nick Mamatas.
Viz, 408pp
Rating: Older Teen

Junji Ito has had a presence in the American manga scene for nearly two decades, starting with Viz’s Uzumaki in 2001, which tells the disturbing tale of a town haunted by a shape; and Gyo in 2003, a bizarre tale about an invasion of walking fish. While both series were well received, companies struggled to really market his work in the U.S. Publishers such as Dark Horse and the defunct ComicsOne attempt to bring more of Ito’s work to stateside, with various anthology collections of his works, but each attempt petered out by the third volume leaving fans hungry for more. That all changed in 2013 when Viz re-released Uzumaki and Gyo in affordable hardcover editions. The combination of cheap hardcovers and Junji Ito’s horrific tales turned out to be a hit, and since then Viz has rolled out a new collection of Ito’s work on a near annual basis. Frankenstein: Junji Ito Story Collection, released in 2018 to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s original novel, combines Ito’s adaption of “Frankenstein” with several original short stories, including the “Oshikiri” cycle, to create a must have volume for horror fans.
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Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Vols. 1-3

August 31, 2018 1 comment

Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Vol. 1Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Vols. 1-3
by Clamp, translated by Kevin Gifford
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Teen (13 +)

Originally published in Japan in 1996, Cardcaptor Sakura used the premise of young Sakura and her friends— Tomoyo, Syaoran, Cerberus, and more—as they sought to capture the magical Clow Cards which were wreaking havoc in their town. While the premise may sound a bit tired and worn, fans and readers of the original series know it was so much more that. In the skillful hands of Clamp, an all woman Japanese art group, Cardcaptor Sakura used a fairly straight forward magical girl premise to launch into an exploration of love and friendship in all their different flavors. Now, two decades later, Clamp returns to continue the adventures of Sakura and company with Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card! Set shortly after the climax of the original series, Clear Card follows Sakura as she enters into a new phase of her life, middle school. With the Clow Cards under wraps, her life was slowly returning to normal, but Sakura’s hard earned peace doesn’t last for long and she soon finds herself faced with new two threats: the mysterious Clear Cards, and the hooded figure seemingly tied to their appearance.
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Guardians of the Louvre

July 24, 2018 1 comment

Cover to Guardians of the LouvreGuardians of the Louvre
by Jirô Taniguchi, Translation by Kumar Sivasubramanian
NBM Publishing, 136 pps.
Rating: Not Rated

Commissioned by the Louvre as part of The Louvre Collection—a series of graphic novels by various creators based upon the museum and its collection of works—Jirô Taniguchi’s Guardians of the Louvre is the tale of a Japanese artist’s fevered wanderings through the museum as he finds himself reliving moments from the history of the museums and its artwork.
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Neo-Parasyte M

July 16, 2018 Leave a comment

The Cover to Neo-Parasyte MNeo-Parasyte M
by Various Creators, Parasyte created by Hitoshi Iwaaki, Translation by Kevin Steinbach
Kodansha Comics, 288 pps.
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

Following in the steps of Neo-Parasyte F, Neo-Parasyte M is an anthology of short works set within the world created by Hitoshi Iwaaki in his critically acclaimed sci-fi/horror series, Parasyte. The original series, published in the late 80s/early 90s, told the story of a teenage boy, Shinichi, and the parasitic alien organism which took control of his right hand. The series has had a surprisingly long and successful life, with no less than three different releases in the U.S. and a broadcast spot on Toonami for its anime adaptation back in 2015. Neo Parasyte M presents a smorgasbord of short stories from various creators, all paying homage in their own unique way to Hitoshi Iwaaki’s original series. Among the contributors are several names which should be recognizable to U.S. manga fans, such as Moto Hagio, Hiroki Endo, and Hiro Mashima. The tales range from speculative tales about what could happen next in the world of Parasyte, to sophomoric comedy tales, and beyond!
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